Why Is My Garbage Disposal Not Working: Five Possible Causes
Cleaning up after preparing and serving dinner often moves faster with the use of a garbage disposal. So when your disposal starts making strange noises, emitting foul odors, or not turning on at all, it makes cleaning up a little more difficult. If you’ve tried everything to diagnose the issue, from clearing out clogs to checking to see if the disposal is plugged in, it’s time to call in the experts.
At Advantage Plumbing & Sewer Co., we answer the question “why is my garbage disposal not working?” Our trained and experienced professionals handle all of Elgin’s garbage disposal services, diagnosing and repairing your disposal issues as quickly and efficiently as possible. We offer top-quality customer service to the residents of Elgin and the surrounding areas, repairing and maintaining your plumbing systems to ensure optimal performance.
Garbage disposal issues are a common occurrence, and may be the result of a few different problems. Below, we’ve compiled a short list of the most common reasons your garbage disposal may not be working as it should and ways to troubleshoot before you call a professional plumber.
#1: Electrical Problems
If you flip the switch to your garbage disposal and it doesn’t turn on, or it randomly stops working while in use, you most likely have an electrical problem.
A few simple ways to troubleshoot the problem include:
- Check to ensure the disposal is plugged in completely.
- Check the reset button on the underside of the disposal. Garbage disposals typically have a built-in failsafe feature that may have tripped and shut off the power. If the reset button popped out, press it back in and power should be restored.
- Check the circuit breaker connected to the disposal. If it’s tripped, reset it.
If the garbage disposal still won’t turn on, it’s time to call a professional. They’ll check the disposal switch and tighten loose terminal connections. If none of those fixes solve the problem, it’s probably time to install a new disposal.
#2: Jammed Grinder
Maybe your garbage disposal turns on just fine, but food isn’t being ground up as it should, or you hear a humming sound but no shredding noises. The culprit in this case may be a jammed flywheel, also called a grinder.
The construction of a garbage disposal includes several parts. The top section is the grinding chamber, or hopper. Inside the hopper, a motor operates a flywheel (a rotating metal plate) and a shredder ring, working together to grind up food waste.
If you think there’s something preventing the flywheel from moving freely, use tongs or a wooden utensil to probe the grinder and determine if something is lodged in the mechanism. DO NOT reach your hand into the disposal. If the disposal still won’t work, call an expert.
#3: Motor Malfunctions
Just like with any mechanical system, garbage disposals wear out. Factors like age and regular wear and tear contribute to how long a garbage disposal motor lasts. Regular maintenance of your garbage disposal may help prolong its life, but in some cases, the motor just conks out. Some ways to keep your disposal working efficiently include:
- Don’t throw hard or fibrous scraps in the disposal. Discard them and any large food waste into a trash can or compost heap.
- Don’t pour oils down the disposal. Butter, bacon grease, and other cooking oils may harden and create clogs or more serious blockages.
- Frequent disposal use keeps it from smelling bad, as you’re consistently clearing out stagnant food debris. Toss in a lemon wedge for extra freshness, or a few ice cubes to help keep the blades sharp.
- Always run water as you’re using the disposal to help flush the drain and keep debris from backing up.
If you haven’t had your disposal for long, check your warranty to see if it covers a replacement. It’s not difficult to replace a garbage disposal, but to save money and hassles, make sure you keep your disposal clean and free of clogs as much as you can.
If your sink drains slowly or fills with water, even though your disposal seems to be working properly, you may be asking yourself “why is my garbage disposal not working?” In this case, the problem may not be your disposal, but instead a clog in your drain line.
Ways to troubleshoot this problem include:
- Running hot water and dish soap down the drain to help dissolve or loosen any clog in the drain pipe. Never use chemical cleaners, as they corrode and dull the metal of the blades.
- Use a plunger to try and dislodge the clog.
- If you’re an experienced DIY-er, you may try disassembling the drain, or using a pipe snake to clear out deeper clogs.
If none of the above tips successfully unclog your sink, it’s time to call a plumber.
If your garbage disposal continues to randomly turn off during operation, it could be due to overheating. Constant use or food in the grinder that makes the disposal work too hard may be the issue behind your disposal turning off. When your disposal begins to overheat, it trips an internal breaker. If you determine that overheating is the cause of your disposal problem, let the unit cool down, press the reset button on the disposal, and resume use.
Advantage Plumbing & Sewer Co. | Elgin’s Choice for Garbage Disposal Services
At Advantage Plumbing & Sewer Co., we understand the headache a malfunctioning garbage disposal causes. Our professional technicians bring their extensive knowledge and training to each job, getting your garbage disposal up and running with minimum inconvenience to you.
We make it our mission to provide the best in customer service to all of our clients, creating trust and lasting relationships. When you ask yourself, “Why is my garbage disposal not working?” let the expert plumbers at Advantage Plumbing & Sewer Co. provide the solution, along with the best in garbage disposal repair and plumbing services in the Elgin area. Call us today at (847) 268-3553 to schedule an appointment.